Saturday, November 6, 2010
Italy V England Final In Prospect
Both players shot five under par rounds of 67 to see the Italian move to 14 under for the week at Sheshan International and pull the leading duo clear of nearest challenger Luke Donald.
Padraig Harrington is tied eighth on six under after a 70 while expected moves from Mickelson, Woods and Poulter never materialised as all shot over par rounds.
WGC HSBC Champions 2011 Round Three Highlights Report from European Tour site
Friday, November 5, 2010
I caught with Dustin this year to capture his swing with Casio Exilim slow motion camera. Watch the way DJ drops his carcase on the downswing. This guy should be flanking for Ireland!
Pic: Francesco calling his Mama after his second round “You gonna be so-a happy Mama!”
The Englishman also recorded a two under par 70, holing a six foot birdie putt on the eighth after seven consecutive pars.
Big mover of the day was Ernie Els. The big South African shot 65 to move into contention in an event he knows he should have won last year. He now stands on seven under, two behind Molinari
On the slippery slope today was Henrik Stenson who blew out two tyres on landing after his brilliant opening round. He’s back on three under, one shot behind a group including Woods, Mickelson, Harrington and Ian Poulter.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The Golf Digest Top 100 Irish courses has been announced and as always it has regurgitated up some controversial choices.
Royal County Down (have they put down yardage markers yet?) is the undisputed heavyweight champion of Ireland according to the judging panel. Indeed links courses dominate the top-10 in the rankings with Adare the only parkland course to squeeze in there at number 8.
Great to see new courses getting some recognition in the list. Barry O’ Connor from Killeen Castle (Solheim Cup 2011 venue) and Lynn McCool’s Lough Erne are the top two New courses coming in at 14 and 22 respectively. Mick Fee in Concra Wood in Castleblayney also has reason to crack open the champers with a deserving 39th place listing.
Further down the rankings the controversial choices appear. It seems like the Old Head have been rolled out the two fingers again by the panel with 47th on the list. Is Baltray 39 places better than the Kinsale venue? Jaysus lads, not to sure about that one!
Pic: Harsh red cards for Dromoland, Slieve Russell and Old Head.
And what about Dromoland Castle who many regard as giving Adare a run for its money only making 65th on the list? Dave Foley and his team need to take this one to the European Court of Justice after getting the hump.
Bet hey its a hard job picking Ireland’s Top Courses and at the end of the day its all a bit of fun. Its not as if millions of people are going to read the list and just head for the top courses on the list. And sure the employment prospects of the countless staff of brilliant courses like the Slieve Russell who have been given a kick up the arse ranking of 42nd wont really be affected by the list. Or will they?
Here’s The Top 25 Irish Courses according to the 2011 Golf Digest Rankings
Royal County Down
K Club Palmer
Ballyliffin - Glasheedy
Rossapenna- sandy Hills
This is uncanny but three of the PGA’s lets say least handsome stars are dead ringers for the stars of YouTube and Irish television sensation “Hardy Bucks”. Check it out!
The Hardy Bucks On The PGA Tour!
Report from European Tour website
“Lee Westwood made an impressive return to action in China to lie just one shot behind Ryder Cup teammate Francesco Molinari at the World Golf Championships - HSBC Champions.
Italian Molinari produced a masterclass in iron play as he shot a bogey-free seven under par round of 65 at Sheshan to lead from newly crowned World Number One Westwood.
But the highlight of the 27 year old's round came in a run of four successive birdies, which began with a chip-in at the third.
He then hit a string of approach shots close, highlighted by his tee shot at the par three sixth which was struck straight at the flag, before he confidently holed a difficult eight foot downhill putt.
"It was a great start and I'm happy with the game," said Molinari.
"I hit three great iron shots into four, five and six and holed the putts. It was a very good round, very consistent."
Westwood ended Tiger Woods' five-year reign at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking without hitting a ball on Monday as he recovered from a calf injury, but was well aware in the build-up to this week that he would need to maintain his excellent form from the last two years in order to remain there.”
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Are you a talent young golfer who dreams of one day playing on the European Tour? If so check out Stephen Sweeney’s new Tour Golf Academy page on Facebook. A professional based in St. Andrews and great friend of Rory McIlroy, Stephen knows exactly what it takes to get on Tour. Pic: Stephen at Augusta with friends Rors and Harry
Tour Golf Academy was set up in order to cater for juniors who are highly skilled golfers with a dedication and drive to further their development in order to be the best they can be. Tour Golf Academy aim to offer juniors a high intensity and top level holistic coaching experience which is used by some of the very best golf federations around the world.
Tour Golf Academy is not just aimed at improving your swing. They look at the entire game of golf and find ways for you to improve in each and every aspect from diet and nutrition to how the mind works to physical fitness and of course the technique required for all the different aspects of the game.
The first event takes place on Sunday, January 2, 2011 at Arcos Gardens, Spain. Full details on the Tour Golf Academy Facebook page.
Calling All Golf Societies: Fancy Free Golf In Castlemartyr and Dromoland Castle This Weekend with mygolfsociety.ie?
Tom Kennedy from mygolfsociety.ie is inviting society golfers and organizers to participate in two very special events this weekend. To celebrate the launch of their 2011 catalogue, mygolfsociety.ie are laying on free golf and grub in Castlemartyr Resort this Friday and again in Dromoland Castle on Sunday. There are absolutely no terms and conditions but places are filling up fast so if you want to play just call or text Tom on 087-6644344. Its fourball better-ball on both courses with a few prizes and plenty of fun gauranteed.
I’m hoping to get to get to Dromoland on Sunday (if my Anthony Kim thumb flare-up goes away) so hope to see you all there!
Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood show gangsters, robbers and drug dealers all over the world the correct way to wield a perfectly legal yet lethal Samurai Sword at the HSBC Championship photoshoot. Notice Lee is using the overlapping or Vardon Grip whilst Tiger is using the decapitating interlocking grip. The legendary sword maker Hattori Hanzo is said to have spent 6 months making Westwood’s sword and a half hour on Tiger’s.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Eagle eyed golfcentraldaily readers have today sent us in an exclusive pics of legendary Tour starter Ivor Robson guesting at last weeks Nationwide Tour event in the USA. The pic has sparked worry all over this office about our man. It appears that the lure of cash has not only attracted our best players across the pond, but now our starters also.
In the image, Ivor appears quite pale, is sporting a long beard and has ditched his dapper green suit in favour of a white gown favoured by the PGA Tour. Well wishers warned Robson, who turned 154 last week, as to the dangers of working in the United States and the possibility that US TV cameras may not be able to portray his best side in the scorching heat. On behalf of everyone in Golfcentraldaily, I would like to urge our American friends to give us our Ivor back. Might I suggest taking Rob Lee as an exchange? And Bruce Critchley?
After coming in for some criticism for some over exuberant marshalling at this year’s Irish Open in Killarney, designers at golf clothing giant GCD have answered the brief of European Tour bosses by coming with a new ultra discreet design for volunteer marshals at the 2011 event.
A spokesman for GCD said “these new outfits are designed to have Irish Open marshals blending in seamlessly with fans whilst at the same time not catching the eye of players. We have replaced “Quiet Please” on the marshals boards with “Hush” on one side and “Or We’ll Shoot” on the other which should go someway towards insuring the high levels of threat expected from a European Tour Marshal.
The new design which incorporates a variegated leaf themed hat and dodgy check shirt is loosely based on outfits worn successfully by Guerilla groups since the seventies.
Kids can you spot the difference between Asia Pacific Champion Ben Crane and firefly chasin’ Crazy legs Crane. We cant!
The winter is the perfect time for weapons testing and from now until the new year I’m going to alert you to some of the best bargains available from trawling through the equipment rooms of Castle Golfbidder.
This week I’ve uncovered a cracking set of irons from TaylorMade. They are Burner XD irons which came out in 2008. You know the “click” sound the pro’s make when they hit the ball, well these irons are the boss when it comes to clickability. These babies are the Frank Bruno of irons; they look the part, pack a serious punch and yet are surprisingly easy to hit!
On close inspection of the face you’ll notice a slightly different coloured insert. It’s a sliver of titanium fused seamlessly on the steel that delivers guaranteed extra distance. On test our average 7 iron carried 155 yards, with the Burner XD’s it’s a trampoline assisted 165 yards. Of course there’s the big cavity back and progressive offset that gives comfort and consistent strikes and if all you low handicappers aren’t too proud to be seen with them, you too will be rewarded.
If your swing speed is slowing down and your third lumbar vertebrae is niggling a little look out for the Burner XD’s with a stiff graphite shaft. They are an excellent set of irons for all handicaps. If I had any criticism I would argue that the Sand Wedge is possibly a bit clunky looking and actually tough to hit from the beach but since most people take those out now anyway in favour of custom wedges, it’s not an issue.
I’m not sure how long titanium inserts like these are going to be allowed in iron sets but for now I suggest taking advantage of the luxury of pulling out a 4 iron for a 200 yard approach over water while your mates turn to putty with a cutty hybrid. Grab a set now from £249 on Golfbidder. Here’s the link http://www.golfbidder.co.uk/models/3197/Taylor_Made_Iron_Set_Burner_XD.html
Know wha’ I mean Arry!
Monday, November 1, 2010
WGC - HSBC Champions Betting Preview and Tips- Early odds Betfair
Sheshan International GC
Shanghai, China PR 04 Nov 2010 - 07 Nov 2010
Tiger Woods 9/1
Next season starts now for Tiger Woods. Jilted yet again, this time from the world number one spot, you sense there has to be a Tiger backlash. Signs were that Woods was beginning to trust his new “Mick Foley” swing in the Ryder Cup singles and if he has progressed at the same pace in the period since then wo betide his competitors. To give an indication of how dangerous Woods was even without a swing consider his last three results at the Barclays, Deutsche Bank and BMW. His worst finish? 15th. Odds of about 9/1 could come back to bite the bookies in the ass on a course he tied sixth on last year.
Rory McIlroy 21/1
All the talk this week will be about Westwood, Kaymer and Woods so if there is to be any event where Rory McIlroy is to escape under the virtual radar, this would be it. Last season, the HSBC Champions event came in the middle of Rory’s incredible nine top-10’s in 10 events so his fourth place finish here has to be taken in that regard. This season Ror’s has been off since the Dunhill Links (or Ryder Cup hangover event) so there may be some halloween cobwebs. However such foibles are not something we associate with a 21 year old so watch out Asia there could well be a Mac attack of a different kind this week.
Nick Watney 34/1
My value tip this week is Nick Watney. The California native has developed into one of the most consistent players on Tour this year. Since July 1st this year Watney’s worst finish is 36th and though he hasn’t won, he has clocked up four top-10’s. Two of those have come in his last two events, the Tour Championship and the recent Justin Timberlake event. Watney shot a 64 in his opening round in Sheshan last year on his way to sixth and another podium finish is on the cards for one of the most in-form players in the field.
Ian Poulter 55/1
Ah yes, the pink one that tweets. A hero yet again at the Ryder Cup, this week marks the return of the Hitchin pro to the world’s stage. Poults won his comeback event (the Singapore Open) after taking September off last season, and if his tweets are anything to go by, he’s soooooooo excited about the next few weeks. Is sure to have his little say if questioned about the world number one spot this week!
Pic: IJP Autumn Winter Range to be unveiled at PGA Show 2011!
Y.E. Yang 85/1
The bookies have lost faith with former USPGA winner YE Yang after he suffered a horrid run of missed cuts between the US Open and USPGA majors this year. However I have it on good authority that YE has turned the corner and an encouraging 24th at the Asia Pacific event will help his confidence levels. Not forgetting too that Yang has won in China already this year at the Volvo event in April. He’s also a HSBC winner from November 2006 when he outpointed Tiger in England. Now when a cocktail of stats such as these are coughed up for a player at 85/1 I take notice. Do you?
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Ultra slow American Ben Crane won the inaugural Asia Pacific Classic by canning an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat perennial nearly-man Brian Davis (who finished birdie-eagle-birdie) by a stroke.
Pic: Happy Crane with His Lucky Dicky Bird Umpire Hat
Crane finished at 18 under and earned $1 million in the first experimental PGA Tour event in Southeast Asia. The highlight of his round was a clutch eagle on the 15th where he holed for eagle after driving the green on the par four.
Luke Donald tied for third with Scotland's Martin Laird at 16 under. It could have been so much better for Donald but for a Halloween triple bogey on the ninth.
The workings of the world golf rankings are about as complicated as Ireland’s NAMA but the upshot of it all is that Lee Westwood has ended Tiger Wood’s reign of 281 weeks at the top. Martin Kaymer could have taken the top spot in Sotogrande but in truth he needed a miracle round in gale force conditions.
Pic: Objects in the mirror are World Number One’s.
Westwood, Kaymer and Woods now head to the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai China this week where the $7 million pot could catapult any of the three into the Number One Spot. At least, that’s how I understand it.
Born 30 July 1979 (age 30)
Portrush, Northern Ireland
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 168 pounds (76 kg; 12.0 st)
Residence Portrush, Northern Ireland
College University of Alabama at Birmingham
Turned professional 2002
Current tour(s) European Tour
Professional wins 6
What’s In The Bag Graeme McDowell 2010 Andalucia Valderrama Masters Champion
Graeme McDowell took his third title of the season after emerging best off following a brutal final round on the legendary Valderrama track. Until the last three holes it looked like anyone’s title with Damien McGrane, GMac and Gareth Maybin all in the hunt.
As it transpired the pressure took a grip on McGrane who stumbled home and eventually emerged quite happy with a long range putt on the last for bogey to finish joint second with Gareth Maybin and former Volvo Masters winner Soren Kjeldson. Maybin’s challenge effectively ended on the 17th when a nervous chip found the water.
On a day where strong winds made low scoring extremely difficult, McDowell went round in 74 to finish on three under. His victory lifts him into the top ten of the Official World Golf Rankings and closes the gap on Race to Dubai leader Martin Kaymer, as the pair head for the HSBC Champions next week.
With all the tears now dried away, and all talk of burnout, well burned out, former world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa is considering playing a handful of LPGA events next year, including perhaps a couple of majors.
"We want to start a family, my husband and I, (so) it depends on the timing. But I will play some tournaments for fun. I don't think I will play full time but I would love to play maybe the Nabisco (Championship) or the Evian (Masters) or British Open," she said this week while preparing for this week's Mission Hills Star Trophy Pro-Celebrity tournament.
"Every day it appears more to me I've made the right decision at the right time. I'm at peace and enjoying the game in a different way. I play without pressure, practice a lot less hours a day and I have more free time.
Graeme McDowell and Gareth Maybin are going at it hammer and tongs heading into the final round of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Sotogrande. The European Tour’s site reported on Saturdays proceedings
“McDowell - currently second in the Race to Dubai - held a two-shot advantage over his fellow countryman overnight and saw that extended early on as Maybin recorded bogeys on the opening two holes.
However, the 30 year old showed great determination to get back to five under with birdies at the third and fourth and he then moved into a share of the lead as McDowell double bogeyed the seventh.
The US Open champion got back on track with a fine three at the par four eighth, but Maybin responded by knocking in a 15-footer for birdie at the ninth.
McDowell then bogeyed ten to hand Maybin sole possession of the lead, but the former quickly returned to six under with a birdie at 11.
Thomas Bjorn was at the front of the chasing pack, the veteran Dane picking up birdies at the first, sixth, eighth and ninth on his way to an outward nine of 33.
That put him three behind the leaders on three under, with Miguel Angel Jimenez, James Kingston and Damien McGrane a shot further back.
Sergio Garcia was at one under following an encouraging 69 on day three, but Niclas Fasth had dropped to level par after three straight bogeys on the back nine.”